|Official Country Name:||Guam|
|Language(s):||English, Chamorro, Japanese|
History & Background
Guam is the southernmost island of the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean, located about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. The indigenous Chamorros, of Malayo-Polynesian descent, comprise about 42 percent of the population of 154,623 people (2000 estimate). Guam has been an unincorporated territory of the United States since it was ceded by Spain in 1898 by the Treaty of Paris. Japanese forces occupied the island between 1941 and 1944. The government was organized under the Organic Act of Guam, 1950, as amended, which was passed by the U.S. Congress. The local government, elected by resident citizens, is divided into an executive branch (governor and lieutenant governor), a 15-member unicameral legislature (senate), and a judiciary (Guam Superior Court and Guam Supreme Court). The island (212 square miles) is under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; it is subject to U.S. laws under a U.S. Federal District Court. Guam elects one non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives; it has no representative in the U.S. Senate. Residents (most of whom are U.S. citizens) cannot vote in U.S. national elections.
Guam's public school system is modeled on the U.S. system, and education is compulsory for children between 5 to 16 years of age. Public schools in the system are subject to accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. There are 38 public schools—27 elementary, 7 middle, and 4 high schools. Offering various curricula from elementary through high school are 22 private or independent schools that are operated by religious organizations (14 Catholic and 8 Protestant); four are maintained by other groups. Since 1998 the Department of Defense Education Activity has maintained one high school, two middle schools, and two elementary schools on military bases for dependents of military personnel stationed on Guam.
According to a 1999 estimate, approximately 32,000 students are enrolled in K-12 classes in Guam public schools—an ethnic mix of 54 percent Chamorro, 26 percent Filipino, 11 percent Pacific Islanders, 4 percent mixed ethnic, 2 percent Asian, 2 percent Caucasian, and 1 percent other. The language of instruction is English, except for compulsory classes in Chamorro language and culture. In 1998-1999, Guam spent $5,098.91 on each pupil; however, none of the financing for the island's public school system comes from property taxes. Aside from funding from federal grants and programs, all school-related expenses are appropriated from the legislature's general fund, derived mainly from Guam's income tax, whose code "mirrors" the U.S. income tax code (the income taxes of local residents are combined with taxes returned from the United States for all military personnel stationed in Guam) and from "receipts" taxes on tourism-related businesses. Since these taxes do not provide a stable source of funding (they vary with the number of military personnel assigned and with tourist spending), long-term planning for the public schools is difficult.
Public school teachers are certified by the Guam Department of Education, a highly centralized bureaucracy within the Government of Guam that exercises a great amount of administrative control over the various schools. Although numerous attempts to decentralize the system and to institute site-based management have been made, these efforts have not been successful. The institutions of higher education, Guam Community College and the University of Guam, are semi-autonomous agencies of the government operating under the direction of a board of trustees and a board of regents, respectively. Guam Community College provides vocational classes for high schools, classes for developmental and adult education, two-year college courses, and college transfer courses. The University of Guam offers undergraduate level courses and some graduate school programs leading to a Master's degree. The University has an accredited nursing program and has applied for accreditation of its program in education.
Funding continues to be a problem for the educational system of Guam. The economic downturn in Asia during the 1990s, especially in Japan, and military downsizing have been cited as factors in such difficulties as the failure to purchase needed textbooks and a general lack of maintenance of the physical facilities in the schools. But other sources have contributed to these problems and to the poor scores achieved by Guam students on SAT tests. Guam shares the problems of many inner-city school districts in the United States, including an excessive school dropout rate, a high rate of teen pregnancy, juvenile gangs, and a general lack of academic motivation.
One crippling event for the public schools occurred in 1981, when Guam teachers went on strike over low wages. All the teachers who participated in the strike were fired, and uncertified replacements were hired. The effects of that strike are still being felt—there are not enough certified teachers to fill the classrooms, so teachers' aides and temporary (uncertified) teachers are used extensively. Another disaster for the schools was the loss of military dependents in 1998 when the Department of Defense, after many efforts to improve the public school system, finally opened its own schools on the military bases. Funds previously provided to the Guam Department of Education for teacher recruitment and other uses by the Department of Defense ceased. Another serious problem with implications for the public school system has been the repeated threat of loss of accreditation for the University of Guam's undergraduate program, which was put on "probation" in 1984 and again in 1999 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The University is a major source of recruitment for teachers in the public schools.
Douglas, Norman, and Ngaire Douglas. Pacific Island Yearbook, 16th ed. North Ryde, NSW, Australia: Angus & Robertson, 1989.
Guam Department of Education. "General Information," 20 December 2000. Available from http://www.doe.edu.gu.
Rogers, Robert F. Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: U of Hawaii Press, 1995.
Roth, Susan. "Governor Plans Territorial Tutoring Program." Pacific Daily News, 3 March 2001.
—Richard E. Mezo
"Guam." World Education Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
Guam (gwäm), Chamorro Guåhan, officially Territory of Guam, the largest, most populous, and southernmost of the Mariana Islands (see also Northern Mariana Islands), an unincorporated territory of the United States (2010 pop. 159,358), 209 sq mi (541 sq km), W Pacific. The southern part of the island is mountainous, rising on Mt. Lamlam to 1,332 ft (406 m). The capital, Hagåtña (Agaña), on the central W coast, is the seat of government, and Apra Harbor, a large U.S. naval base, is nearby. Dededo, in NW Guam, is the most populous municipality. Andersen Air Force Base is in Yigo, in NE Guam. The interior of the island is dense jungle; most of the villages are on the coast.
Guamanians are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in U.S. elections. Guam's permanent inhabitants are predominantly of native Chamorro stock (37%) or Filipino descent (26%); the rest of the population mainly consists of other Pacific Islanders, Caucasians, and other persons of Asian descent. The people are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. English, Chamorro, and Philippine languages are the main languages; efforts to preserve the Chamorro language began in the 1990s. Some one fourth of the population consists of U.S. military personnel and their dependents.
Providing goods and services for the huge U.S. bases is the major industry. Tourism, especially from Japan, is also important, and the territorial government is a significant employer. There is some light industry, and Guam is an important transshipment center for Micronesia and other Pacific islands. Some inhabitants practice subsistence farming, but large-scale agriculture is no longer possible because military installations occupy so much land. Local leaders began pressing for access to military land in the 1990s, and several facilities have been turned over.
Guam is governed under the 1950 Organic Act of Guam. The president of the United States is the head of state. The government is headed by a governor, who is popularly elected for a four-year term and is eligible for a second term. Members of the unicameral 15-seat Legislature are popularly elected for two-year terms. Guam also is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by an elected nonvoting delegate.
Human artifacts dating from c.1500 BC have been found on Guam, but the first settlement may have occurred as much as 500 or more years earlier. Visited in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, Guam was claimed and controlled by Spain until 1898, when it was taken by the United States in the Spanish-American War. After 1917, Guam, under the Dept. of the Navy, was governed by a naval officer who was advised by a local congress. Guam was captured by Japan in 1941, was retaken by U.S. forces in 1944, and became a major base for assaults on the Japanese mainland.
The Organic Act of 1950 transferred jurisdiction to the Dept. of the Interior. During the Vietnam War in the 1960s Guam was an important base for air assaults. The island's military installations remain strategically important to the United States and are undergoing an expansion in the early 21st cent., with units to be transferred there from Okinawa and other locations.
In 1969 voters rejected unification with the Northern Marianas. Since 1970 the governor has been popularly elected. Guamanians voted in 1987 to seek commonwealth status from the United States. Guam was devastated by typhoons in 1976 and 1992 and suffered a severe earthquake in 1993. Felix Camacho was elected governor in 2002, succeeding Carl T. C. Gutierrez; he was reelected in 2006. In 2010 Eddie Calvo was elected to the office.
"Guam." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
|Official Country Name:||Guam|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
|Language(s):||English, Chamorro, Japanese|
Guam, the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago, is considered the gateway to Micronesia and the hub of the Pacific. The Spanish seized control of the island in 1521, but the United States won control in 1898 following the Spanish-American war. Japan occupied Guam briefly during World War II. Today Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States and hosts one of the most strategically important U.S. military bases in the Pacific. The population is approximately 157,000, and the literacy rate is 99 percent. English is the official language, but Chamorro, the language of the island's indigenous population, is widely spoken, as is Japanese. The U.S. President serves as the chief of state, and a Governor heads the local government. There is a unicameral, 15-seat legislature, and Guam elects one delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. The economy is largely dependent on the U.S. military, but fish and handicraft exports also play a role. The tourism industry is growing, and the island is an especially popular destination for Japanese tourists.
Guam enjoys the press and speech freedoms of the U.S. Constitution. The country's major English-language daily is the Pacific Daily News. It began as the Navy News in 1947, when it was published by the U.S. Navy. Today it is owned by Gannett, boasts a circulation of more than 20,000, and is available online. The Sunday edition is called the Pacific Sunday News. There are several weeklies, many of which target the island's Asian population and Asian tourists. Guam Chinese News is a biweekly community newspaper printed in Chinese. Its circulation is 3,500. Guam Shinbun, a Japanese-language weekly, appears every Friday, boasts a circulation of 20,000, and is available online. Korean language weeklies include Korean Community News, which has a circulation of 2,000, and the Korean News, which has a slightly lower circulation. Guam Shoppers' Guide is an English-language community newspaper that appears every Friday and has a circulation of 20,000. Micro Call is a weekly published by the Communication Department of the University of Guam. Serving the American military community are the weeklies Pacific Crossroads (Navy) and Tropic Topics (Air Force). The Pacific Voice, also a weekly, caters to the Catholic community.
Operating on the island are four AM radio stations, seven FM radio stations, five television stations, and 20 Internet service providers. There are approximately 221,000 radios and 106,000 televisions.
"CocoNET Wireless," The University of Queensland, Australia. (1995). Available from http://www.uq.edu.au/coconet/gm.html.
"Country Profile," Worldinformation.com (2002). Available from http://www.worldinformation.com.
"Guam," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from http://www.cia.gov.
Guam Shinbun (2001). Home Page. Available from http://www.guam-shinbun.com/.
"On the Map," Pacific Daily News (2002). Available from http://www.guampdn.com.
Jenny B. Davis
"Guam." World Press Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
GUAM, the westernmost territory of the United States, was captured by American forces in June 1898 during the Spanish-American War, and ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris, signed 10 December 1898. Ferdinand Magellan is credited with discovery of the island in 1521. The island, which is about thirty miles long and four to ten miles wide, is the southernmost of the Mariana Islands. It was then inhabited by natives who had migrated from Asia, probably the Malay Archipelago, about 3,500 years earlier. Following its cession in 1898, Guam was administered by naval officers, pursuant to executive orders of the president. On 1 August 1950, its administration was transferred to the Department of the Interior under the Organic Act. Until 1970, under this act, the chief executive of Guam was a governor appointed by the president, but a 1968 amendment provided for popular election thereafter. A unicameral legislature (one legislative chamber) of twenty-one members is the lawmaking authority. A court with the jurisdiction of a federal district court and local jurisdiction has been established, its decisions subject to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The people of Guam have been citizens of the United States since 1950.
During World War II, Guam was occupied by Japanese forces from December 1941 to 21 July 1944 when it was recaptured by United States Marines. It has since played a key role in U.S. Pacific defenses. In 2000, its population of approximately 150,000 was largely employed in military-related pursuits, but tourism continues to provide a lively and increasing source of economic activity. Major exports include petroleum products, construction materials, and fish, and Guam's largest trading partners are the mainland United States and Japan. English and Chamorro are the principal languages on the island, and more than 98 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.
Carano, Paul, and Pedro C. Sanchez. A Complete History of Guam. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle, 1964.
Rogers, Robert F. Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1995.
Ruth G.Van Cleve/a. g.
"Guam." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/guam
"Guam." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/guam
Identification. Guam is the southernmost island in the Mariana Islands chain. The Chamorro people and their language are indigenous throughout the archipelago.
Location and Geography. Guam, the largest island in Micronesia, is fifteen hundred miles southeast of Tokyo and six thousand miles west of San Francisco. It has an area of 212 square miles, (550 square kilometers). A high limestone plateau forms the northern regions. The southern region is of volcanic origin, with a mountainous terrain of red clay hills, waterfalls, rivers, and streams.
Demography. Guam suffered radical depopulation in the late 1600s, when wars against the Spanish and diseases introduced by Spanish settlers resulted in the death of almost 95 percent of the population. Precolonial estimates of the population of the Mariana Islands range from forty thousand to one-hundred thousand. Spanish settlement in 1668, resulted in a population decline to three thousand by 1700. The population in 1990 was nearly 150,000, a six fold increase since 1940, largely as a result of immigration after 1965. In 1990, only 43 percent of the population was of Chamorro ancestry. The largest immigrant population is from the Philippines, followed by American military personnel and other Asian immigrants.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Chamorro language, which is spoken throughout the Mariana Islands, is an Austronesian language.
Symbolism. The most enduring symbol is the latte stone, a megalithic structure used to elevate houses in the precolonial period. First built around c.e. 800, latte stones are large coral blocks composed of two pieces: a trapezoidal stone pillar called a haligi, and a hemispherical cap called a tasa that rests atop the haligi. Because construction of these stones was time and labor consuming, their production ceased after the onset of wars against Spanish colonizers. The latte stone has become a symbol of Chamorro strength, pride, resistance, and survival.
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan landed on Guam. In 1565, Spain claimed the Mariana Islands, but a colonial settlement was not founded until 1668. After four years of conflict, the leader of the Jesuit mission was killed by Chamorros, leading to thirty years of warfare. Spain maintained a colonial presence until 1898, and contemporary Chamorro culture evidences much Hispanic influence, particularly the preeminence of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1898, the United States military replaced Spanish rule as a consequence of the Spanish-American War. For the next fifty years, the United States Navy ruled in a nondemocratic, authoritarian fashion. The entire island was designated a naval base, and villagers were expected to conform to naval standards of hygiene and decorum. No political or civil rights were granted to the people until after World War II.
Japanese military forces invaded in 1944. For two and a half years, the Chamorro were forced to provide food and labor to the Japanese military.
The 1944 U.S. military campaign to reoccupy Guam resulted in many ambivalent encounters. Chamorros were elated to see their lives restored to postwar normalcy, but many were disappointed when their lands were seized by the U.S. military. By 1948, the U.S. military and other federal agencies had taken 42 percent of the land, primarily for military bases, but also for restricted recreational areas. The military still controls more than one-third of Guam's land. In over a century of United States rule, the Chamorro have never had an opportunity to decide their political status. Guam remains a colony of the United States, officially classified as an unincorporated territory. A sovereignty movement has sought self-determination for the last two decades.
National Identity. Chamorros have a dual identity as the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands and a part of the United States. The value of inafa'maolek, literally translates as "to make good" and connotes a spirit of interdependence and cooperation. This concept bonds people to the idea that residents can live peacefully and productively when they act in the interests of the group rather than the individual.
Ethnic Relations. After the 1970s, ethnic tension between Chamorros and Filipinos became pronounced. Today, there is tension between a growing population of islanders from the Federated States of Micronesia and various indigenous groups. These tensions are exhibited more in the form of racial jokes than in violent acts.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space
The latte stone house is the best known form of traditional architecture. Eight to twelve stones are used for each house, lined up in parallel rows of four to six. The stones range from four to sixteen feet high and weigh forty thousand to sixty thousand pounds. The houses built on top of the megaliths were typically long and narrow.
Modern houses are typically concrete structures able to withstand typhoons. Many families live in rural clan compounds where many members of the extended family live in close proximity. The immigrant population dominates the urban areas, living in apartment complexes and condominiums.
Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. Food is a significant part of the cultural economy, reflecting an affinity with the land. Sharing food is part of a system of reciprocity based on a sense of perpetual interpersonal obligation. Daily foods include traditional staples such as rice, fish, breadfruit, and taro, in addition to growing quantities of imported foods such as canned goods, and fresh and frozen meats and vegetables, readily available for purchase at local grocery stores.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Each village celebrates the feast day of its patron saint. These fiestas draw large crowds, with prolific amounts of food prepared for reciprocal exchanges among clan members and friends. Killing a pig or cow and preparing vegetable and seafood dishes are typical aspects of a fiesta.
Basic Economy. By circulating items of food and other material goods, and lending support when labor is needed, Chamorros maintain and strengthen links of kin and friendship. During funerals, family members and friends give food, service, and money for nine days after the death. The family of the deceased acknowledges this support by reciprocating with money, goods, or services when those families are in need.
Guam's modern economy revolves around a growing cash sector and wage labor employment, particularly in the government and tourist industries. Guam's national currency is the U.S. dollar, and U.S. federal government spending and local government expenditures fuel Guam's domestic spending.
Land Tenure and Property. Land traditionally was owned by the clan as a corporate group. During the reoccupation by the U.S. military, almost half the island was taken by the American government. These acts dispossessed many Chamorros, who had few assets other than land. The United States Congress later established private ownership of land.
Commercial Activities. Most residents work for wages and there is subsistence farming of bananas, papaya, guava, mango, breadfruit, and taro. The government funded by local taxes and U.S. federal tax transfers employs the largest proportion of the adult population, while hotels, the service industry, and the military also employ large numbers.
Major Industries. The tourist industry is the largest private sector source of income. Hotels, restaurants, and entertainment provide for millions of tourists, primarily from Japan.
Trade. Imports exceed exports in value by 17 to 1, as almost all of the island's manufactured goods are imported from the United States and Japan.
Division of Labor. Both men and women work in the wage economy. In the nonwage sector, men and women share agricultural responsibilities, while men also engage in fishing and hunting. Women have traditionally managed family resources, including land and food.
Classes and Castes. Chamorro society emphasizes respect for the elderly. The practice of manngingi, ("to smell") entails sniffing the right hand of an elderly person to express one's deep regard. Before colonial rule, Chamorros recognized the power and authority of clan elders. Informal positions of authority were granted to elders who commanded the respect of their clan members. Elders could pool the labor and material resources of their clans in times of need.
The class system has two categories: the manakhilo ("high people") and manakpapa' ("low people"). The manakhilo includes wealthy families from the capital of Hagåtñta who have held positions of power since the colonial era.
Symbols of Social Stratification. Class lines are not strict because most clans have members in both social classes, and the rich and the poor tend to live side by side within family compounds in rural villages. Those outside the clan compound may live in modern housing subdivisions that congregate people along economic lines.
Government. In 1950, civil and political rights were granted to the Chamorro people through the passage of an Organic Act for Guam by the United States Congress, which also granted U.S. citizenship to the Chamorro. Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Political life revolves around articulating, explaining, and defining Guam's ambiguous relationship with the United States. The Organic Act established a unicameral legislature, a superior court, and a governor.
Leadership and Political Officials. Leaders are elected and are predominantly of Chamorro ethnicity. These political officials come from the Democratic and Republican parties of Guam. These parties emerged in the 1970s along cultural rather than ideological lines. Party politics express historical clan rivalries more than differences in political ideology.
Social Problems and Control. Uncontrolled population increases have contributed to a diminished level of social welfare in the last decade. Overcrowded schools, hospitals, housing areas, and prisons reflect the social problems of overpopulation. Unresolved land problems, unrestrained immigration, and indigenous rights issues, along with substance abuse and domestic violence, are significant sources of tension.
Military Activity. The U.S. Navy and Air Force occupy one-third of the land and account for approximately 20 percent of the population. An air force base, a naval base, and a naval communications center form the largest concentration of military resources on the island.
Social Welfare and Change Programs
Guam receives welfare assistance from the U.S. government. Additionally, the local government, the Roman Catholic church, and private organizations sponsor programs to assist victims of domestic violence, homelessness, and terminal illness.
Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
The American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society have offices on Guam, and privately funded organizations address social and health problems. Indigenous rights groups have gained international status through the United Nations, including groups such as Chamoru Nation and the Organization of Peoples for Indigenous Rights.
Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. Chamorro culture had a balance in gender roles. Power within the clan belonged to both the oldest son and the oldest daughter. Women traditionally held power over the household, while men conducted affairs in the public sphere, including hunting and fishing. The oldest daughter cared for her parents in their older years. Three centuries of colonialism have created much change, particularly in the public sphere. Men dominate political offices, and women are leaders in many social, religious, and cultural organizations.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. After more than three centuries of colonial rule and the dominance of the Roman Catholic church on Guam, the relative status of men and women has changed in favor of higher status for men's roles. Under both Spanish and American rule, men were selected over women to hold positions in any public capacity, whether in the government, business, or church. Women's power in the household has largely been maintained through their control over familial resources, including the paychecks of husbands and children, and the labor resources of all family members. In the past half century, women have successfully found acceptance as elected officials and leaders of numerous government and civic organizations, although men still vastly outnumber women in positions of political leadership.
Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. The groom's family sponsors the marriage, providing the bride with her wedding dress and other items of value. In addition, they throw a party to demonstrate their ability to provide for their new daughter. Traditionally, upon marriage, the woman was expected to relocate to her husband's clan land, although today this practice often is forgone in favor of whatever housing is available.
Domestic Unit. The extended family or clan, is the core of society. The domestic unit can include grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, cousins, and other relatives. The practice of poksai, a form of adoption, is common. In this system, childless women may raise a niece or nephew and grandparents may exercise parental control over a grandchild.
Inheritance. Sons and daughters generally inherit land and other material possessions equally from both parents, with protections extended to the youngest child and any unmarried children.
Kin Groups. The closest kin group consists of first and second cousins from the mother's and father's lines and may include godparents and their children. The system of clan names allows Chamorros to navigate relationships despite an abundance of duplicate surnames. Clan names reflect kinship along male and female lineages in ways that surnames do not. Persons with different surnames may share a common clan name, revealing a relationship along the lineage. Generally, people place priority in the mother's clan line.
Infant Care. While biological parents and grandparents are the traditional providers of infant care, the larger extended family provides a network of assistance. People show great affection to infants, frequently smelling and lightly pinching, squeezing, and biting babies. Chamorros believe that feelings of matgodai have such spiritually powerful effects that failing to demonstrate affection can make a baby cranky or cause illness.
Child Rearing and Education. Nearly all the major events in a young person's life revolve around celebrations in clan circles. Children are socialized from birth to show respect to their relatives. While the extended family provides a network of assistance for child rearing, some working parents place their children in day care or preschool. There is mandatory schooling from ages five to sixteen.
Higher Education. The University of Guam is the only four-year accredited institution of higher learning in the western Pacific. Most of its students are graduates of Guam's high schools.
Respect for elders and authority figures is a core cultural value. Chamorros demonstrate respect by bending over and sniffing an older person's right hand.
Religious Beliefs. Chamorros believe that their ancestors have lived in the Mariana Islands since the dawn of time. In this world view, the Mariana Islands lie at the center of the universe and all human life began in Guam. While almost all residents are baptized into the Roman Catholic faith or belong to another Christian denomination, animistic beliefs persist, including a respect for ancestral spirits, or taotaomo'na, who are believed to occupy certain trees and other areas in the forests. Persons entering the jungle are expected to ask permission from the taotaomo'na and remain quiet and respectful. Those who offend the taotaomo'na may receive bruises or suffer from inexplicable ailments.
Religious Practitioners. In precolonial days, persons referred to as makahna mediated between the spiritual and physical worlds. While Spanish Catholic missionaries abolished these practices, many persist. Viewed primarily as herbal healers, suruhanu and suruhana also function as healers of those with a variety of illnesses.
Rituals and Holy Places. Jungle areas and sites in which latte stones are located are considered sacred. In precolonial years people buried family members beneath latte stones and thus ancestral spirits are assumed to reside there. Ritual behavior in the presence of latte stones or in jungle areas includes maintaining quiet and decorum and showing respect for the environment.
Death and the Afterlife. Many Chamorros continue to observe ancient animistic beliefs. The acceptance of the taotaomo'na "people of before" reveals an enduring belief in the existence of persons' spirits beyond their physical life. Many families tell stories about visits from a deceased relative whose presence has been made known through scent, touch, or appearance. Every year on All Soul's Day, Chamorros remember their ancestors by holding special memorial services and decorating their graves with flowers, candles, photographs, and other mementos.
Medicine and Health Care
Since World War II, American-trained and licensed doctors and nurses have been the prevalent health care professionals. Chamorro health care specialists continue to practice health care, using a variety of homemade herbal medicines and massage techniques.
American colonialism introduced secular celebrations such as Veterans' Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The most widely celebrated secular holiday is Liberation Day, commemorated each year on 21 July to observe the retaking of Guam by the U.S. military in 1944. A parade with floats and marching bands is staged to honor military veterans and Chamorros who lived through years of wartime terror.
The Arts and Humanities
Support for the Arts. The Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities, funded by the government of Guam, and the Guam Humanities Council, funded by the U.S. government, sponsor a variety of cultural activities. Public radio and television stations encourage the arts. Public and private art galleries include the Isla Center for the Arts at the University of Guam and the Puntan Dos Amantes Gallery.
Literature. As a culture rooted in oral traditions, Guam has little written literature. A few Chamorro novels have been published. A literary journal published by the university's literature faculty motivates poets and other creative writers.
Graphic Arts. There exists a growing community of local artists, particularly in the fields of painting and woodcarving. A number of locally owned arts shops, such as the Guam Gallery of Art and Jill Benavente's Mangilao store, feature a wide variety of locally produced art pieces.
Performance Arts. The University of Guam's Fine Arts Theater, Southern High School's Performance Center, and the Tiyan Theater are popular venues for locally written and produced plays and musical performances.
The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
Support for the physical and social sciences comes primarily through the University of Guam's annual College of Arts and Sciences Conference, the annual High School Science Fair, and the university-sponsored journal Micronesica, which publishes scientific research.
Carter, Lee D., William L. Wuerch, and Rosa Roberta Carter, eds. Guam History: Perspectives, Volume One, 1997.
Cunningham, Lawrence J. Ancient Chamorro Society, 1992.
Hale'-ta: I Ma Gobetna-ña Guam, Governing Guam: Before and After the Wars, 1994.
Hattori, Anne Perez. "Colonial Dis-Ease: U.S. Navy Health Policies and the Chamorros of Guam, 1898–1941." Unpublished dissertation, University of Hawai'ii at Manoa, 1999.
Pacific Island Profiles, 1995.
Rogers, Robert F. Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam, 1995.
Russell, Scott. Tiempon I Manmofo 'na: Ancient Chamorro Culture and History of the Northern Mariana Islands, 1998.
Sanchez, Pedro C. Guahan Guam: The History of Our Island, 1989.
Souder, Laura Torres. Daughters of the Island: Contemporary Chamorro Women Organizers on Guam, 1992.
Wei, Debbie, and Rachel Kamel, eds. Resistance in Paradise: Rethinking 100 Years of U.S. Involvement in the Caribbean and the Pacific, 1998.
—Anne Perez Hattori
"Guam." Countries and Their Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." Countries and Their Cultures. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/guam
"Guam." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/guam
"Guam." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved March 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/guam